Serusier masterpiece for Pont-Aven

1. Paul Sérusier (1864-1927)
Portrait of Marie Lagadu, 1889
Oil on canvas - 62 x 47 cm
Pont-Aven, Musée
Photo : Musée de Pont-Aven

30/12/08 – Acquisition – Pont-Aven, Musee – The small town of Pont-Aven knows how to mobilize the business patrons in the region to purchase works worthy of belonging in the greatest museums. Readers may remember, five years ago, the acquisition of a Gauguin pastel (see news item of 21/12/03, in French, on La Tribune de l’Art) ; the new director, Estelle Fresnau, continues this policy. A partner of the museum for the last 20 years, the Credit Mutuel de Bretagne is going to sign a more permanent patronage agreement. This bank, the Association des Amis du musée de Pont-Aven and the Rotary Club have just come together to donate an important painting by Paul Sérusier. The Portrait of Marie Lagadu (ill. 1) was acquired from Maurice Denis’ heirs who wished the work to return to the place where it had been painted, for the very reasonable price of 50,000 euros. Dating from 1889, it is very characteristic of the Pont-Aven school and its historical background reminds us of Sérusier’s role as a go-between between Gauguin’s friends in Brittany and the Nabis group in Paris (The Talisman at the Musee d’Orsay dates back to the previous year).

2. Paul Gauguin (1848-1903)
Portrait of Marie Lagadu, 1890
Oil on canvas - 65 x 55 cm
Chicago, Art Institute
Photo : Wikipedia

Represented here with her waitress apron and the Pont-Aven head-dress, Marie Merrien, nicknamed Lagadu (“black eyes in Breton”) worked at the famous Gloannec inn and is known for having posed also for Gauguin. Her portrait at the Art Institute in Chicago (ill. 2), from 1890, was conceived as a tribute to Cezanne, both for the layout and the technique which recall those of the master from Aix-en-Provence, as well as for the reproduction of a still-life by Cezanne in the background.

Several other paintings entered the museum in 2008 : The port of Pont-Aven by Emil-Benedicktoff Hirschfeld (1887-1922), Hommage to Notre-Dame-du-Folgoat, an oil on board by Maurice Denis (1870-1943), Elevation 1, a pastel by Charles Filiger (1863- 1928), Profile of a Breton Woman, painting on panel, by Paul-Auguste Masui (1888-1981, gift of the artist’s family) and nine canvas by Jean-Georges Cornélius (1880-1963), gift of his daughter Marie-Edith Cornélius.

Let us point out that the Musee de Pont-Aven also carries out a very interesting exhibition policy. At the moment, visitors can see Guillou et Deyrole and coming soon, Maurice Denis et la Bretagne and Maurice Chabas.

Version française

Michel de Piles, mardi 30 décembre 2008

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